The Washington Capitals announced on Monday that goaltender Clay Stevenson has been recalled from ECHL South Carolina and re-assigned to AHL Hershey. The move provides additional goaltending depth for the Bears after Zach Fucale was recalled by the Capitals over the weekend.
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The Washington Capitals, the NHL affiliate of the Hershey Bears, announced today that goaltender Clay Stevenson has been re-assigned from the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) to the Bears.
Stevenson, 24, is 3-0-0 with Hershey this season. He made his AHL debut on Dec. 10 versus Cleveland, turning aside 25 shots. He earned starts on back-to-back nights the following weekend, defeating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 23-save performance on Dec. 17, and turning aside 25 more shots in a win over Lehigh Valley on Dec. 18. He has a 1.96 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage with Hershey this season.
Goaltender Clay Stevenson has been re-assigned to Hershey from the @SCStingrays.
Donegal Insurance Group | Roster Moves
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) March 20, 2023
Stevenson has posted a 17-10-4 record with the Stingrays this year over 32 games, owning a 2.57 goals-against average, .915 save percentage, and two shutouts. The rookie netminder earned his first professional shutout on Dec. 3 for the Stingrays, stopping 25 shots and earning first star honors in a 3-0 victory over Savannah. He was named the Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Nov. 28-Dec. 4.
Additionally, the Bears announced on Sunday the club released goaltender Bailey Brkin from his tryout agreement.
While Stevenson initially went undrafted by an NHL team, there was a discernible rise in his game after the dust had settled following the draft. There was enough of a difference in his game that multiple NHL teams were looking to sign the college free agent. It was up to Stevenson where he would go, and luckily for the Capitals, he decided to head to Washington.
“During my recruiting process I knew I had to be going to a place that I had an opportunity to develop and grow my game. The people in Washington’s organization showed me a developmental philosophy that I trusted and thought I could really build my game to the next level with,” said Stevenson.
“I would say the three major factors in the process were; opportunity, development, and people.”
Danny Brooks, the Capitals Director of Player Recruitmant, has done an incredible job in finding undrafted “diamonds in the rough”, so to speak. Just consider players like Joe Snively and Bobby Nardella, who also went undrafted and were successfully recruited by Brooks, and you can see that Brooks is good at what he does.
“Danny Brooks is a great recruiter and coach,” said Stevenson. “He has an incredible view on life and is a great person to know and talk to. He is also a good guy to have in your corner.”
On To Washington
Stevenson made his first visit to Washington for the Capitals’ development camp in July, and also participated in the Capitals rookie camp and main training camp in September.
“My initial impressions of the camps were quite positive overall. I thought the camps were put together well with very hard, but good and fun skates. I learned a lot about becoming a pro player there simply by observing the habits of the personnel at the camps,” said Stevenson.
For Stevenson, his initial visits to the District were important to connect with his fellow goaltending brethren.
“It helps with learning to transition your game to the pro level and the coaching staff are very good with helping to do that. I always enjoy making friendships in hockey and there are many guys I am getting close with in Hershey and South Carolina,” said Stevenson.
“One of the earliest friendships I made was with Garin Bjorklund and it has been nice to get to know the guy. The goalie coaching sessions were great to get to learn from Scott Murray, Ollie, and Juha.
”We had a lot of good and fun sessions out there talking about goaltending. It was also nice to have my Dartmouth goalie coach, Jason Tapp, out there for development camp. Having someone I know very well on the ice was awesome to continue talking and working with, even at development camp.”
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